It’s a week before Christmas and all through the house the children are yelling and so is the spouse. The presents are wrapped but the cat ate the tinsel now vet bills are piling and the ham’s full of gristle. This year was to be different, it’s an annual goal, but stressors keep piling like your yard full of snow. Your heart wants to focus on what Christmas is for but the world, so it seems, always wants so much more.
Not everyone experiences stress during the holidays, but if we are all honest, many of us do… and unnecessarily so. We want all the trimmings and fun that the holiday promises, but we fail to say “no” when our plate is already full and, because of that, we feel overwhelmed and that spills over to our loved ones. It’s not intentional, and tons of fun is still to be had in the things we fill our plates with, but the problem doesn’t come with the fluff of Christmas, it comes when that fluff becomes top priority.
We as Christians know that the real reason for Christmas is the coming of Jesus into this broken world in order to save His people. However, sometimes we hear that so much that we become unknowingly calloused to it and still allow the fun of the season to take over our mental focus. Our Jesus becomes too small. Jesus entered this world as a babe instead of a conqueror in order to take on the weakest of human frailty (what is weaker/more dependent than a newborn baby?). He became the least of all to be relateable and to share in our struggles- the smallest form of humanity. However, when we make Jesus too small, our problems start rising. We make Him a “part” of Christmas instead of the reason for all of the celebrating that we’re doing!
How do we put Jesus back into His rightful place in this Holiday? We don’t have to stop all the parties, decorating, baking, etc. but maybe we can start doing them all FOR Him instead of without Him. When you decorate, you can act as if you’re decorating for His birthday party. When you’re wrapping presents (even if you’re like me and are waiting until the last minute), instead of getting frustrated because you’re running out of time and you still have so much to do, focus on the fact that you are showing your loved ones how to be selfless and care for others through giving… just like Christ did. When you’re attending your parties or cooking for groups, remember that it’s your mindset and perspective that shines through to others, and they will see whether you are doing these things just to get them done or because you want to show love for the people you’re around. Instead of reading your kids “Goodnight Moon” for the millionth time, maybe read them a kids’ version of the Biblical account of Christmas. Perhaps, rather than buying that hundredth computer game, you look for a way to give to a charity or family that you know of that’s struggling financially. There are tons of ways to refocus on Christ… it may just take a little effort but trust me, He’s worth it.
I challenge you this Christmas, look for ways to reincorporate Jesus into His birthday celebrations. After all, would you leave your child sitting in their room on their birthday while you went and enjoyed his/her birthday party without them? Keep Christ your main focus this year and your stress will decline… that’s an elf-guarantee.
“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1: 14 NIV